Colucci's Lift 3 Days a Week Program

Chris, When you have a moment, I was hoping you could answer a couple questions on this program: Lift 3 Days a Week and Grow

I would also be happy to hear from other posters who have run the program.

I’m currently running Starting Strength and want to transition to more of an aesthetics focused program in the next few weeks. I like your 3 day a week layout, but I wanted to clarify the following:

  1. Do the major movements of the day use ramping weights, or the same weight for all 4 sets?
  2. Do the B and C exercises use the same weight?
  3. How do handle progressing the weights?

Thanks for laying out a solid program.

[quote]LiftingStrumpet wrote:

  1. Do the major movements of the day use ramping weights, or the same weight for all 4 sets?[/quote]
    I’m a big fan of auto-regulating from set to set, which is why I like prescribing rep ranges. You might do one or two basic warm-up sets before getting to work though. To copy/paste an explanation I’ve put up before:

When I write a program and recommend a rep range, I literally mean for all work sets to be within that range. So if I write 4x4-6, I’m expecting you to sort of “autoregulate” and use whatever weight you can handle for at least 4 good reps and no more than 6. Preferably without hitting muscular failure or grinding/barely getting any of those reps. The last set of an exercise is usually the only exception, where I can see it being fine to grind the last rep and end that lift on a high note, though I’d still avoid hitting failure or failing mid-rep.

Every rep should have solid form and feel solid. That’s probably, but not necessarily, going to mean you’ll adjust the weight used each set based on how you just performed and how you’re feeling.

As an example, here’s how I’ve been working my dumbbell shoulder press. My plan calls for 4x2-4.
3 Sessions Ago
60x4 -Every rep felt smooth, I could’ve squeezed out one more good rep before form got ugly, so I bumped up the weight.
65x3 - Felt good and solid. Stayed in the target rep range, so kept the weight.
65x2 - Glad I got at least two and hit my “minimum”, but it shouldn’t have been this hard. I made sure to rest a little bit longer, then attacked it again.
65x3 - Suck it, 65’ers.

2 Sessions Ago
65x3 - Based on the last workout’s last set, I should be good for 3, but a 4th would be gravy.
65x3 - Felt fine, still in target range. Continue.
65x3 - Same as last set. Felt good, carry on.
65x2 +1 push press - First rep felt good, second hit me hard for some reason. I got dumb and greedy and intentionally “cheated” an extra rep with leg drive.

Most Recent Session
65x4 - Mildly pissed about last session’s last set. Want to make a statement to myself, and I did. Yay me.
65x3 - Hit the top end of my rep range last set, but I don’t feel confident at this weight and know 70 would be a big struggle. Kept weight the same.
65x3 - Reps felt smooth. Maintain.
65x3 - End of a good session. I’ll likely go for 70 on the second or third set of the next workout, depending on how I feel.

Nope. The C exercises should always end up heavier than the B’s. From the article:
“… the first set of the second exercise [exercise C] should always feel relatively-easy with the weight used on the last set of the first exercise [exercise B].”

So if your front squat goes 115x6; 135x6; 155x5; 155x4, your back squat might go 155x6; 185x6; 225x4; 225x4 (or whatever).

Again, autoregulate. I think that concept is one of the easiest ways to enforce the law of progressive overload and the “always increase with weight or reps from week to week”-idea. But it does require self-awareness, self-discipline, honesty, and a certain lack of ego (or not. The weights will let you know if/when you’re being greedy).

Thanks for the thorough reply! I’m looking forward to a different style of training. The auto regulation concept is pretty interesting. I’m sure it will take a bit of feeling things out after doing linear progression for most of my short training life, but as an “older” (shudder!) trainee, I think it will be a good change.